Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Azusa, CA - Mayor Cristina Cruz-Madrid

Peregrinos' de Emaus Homeless Shelter

The Peregrinos' de Emaus Homeless Shelter served six to 10 homeless men nightly in a dilapidated structure with serious code violations located in a low- and moderate-income residential area. The shelter's board did not have the financial resources to make the required improvements and, in 1994, the building was targeted for demolition.

The City of Azusa Redevelopment Agency intervened, purchasing the shelter for $92,800 and leasing it back to Peregrinos' for $1.00. City staff assisted the shelter in applying for a FEMA emergency shelter grant through the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission (CDC). FEMA funds were available to aid in recovery efforts following the Northridge Earthquake, and in April 1995, the County CDC was awarded funds totaling $100,000 for the demolition and substantial rehabilitation of the shelter. Additional funding came from private sources - $25,000 each from the Ahmanson and Weingarten Foundations, and $1,000 each from ARCO and McDonnell-Douglas - and architectural services were donated by Mike Robey and Associates. The City donated staff time to prepare federal documents, coordinate meetings and correspondence with the CDC, assist with the building permit process, procure the needed contractors, and ensure the project was completed in a timely manner.

All but about 10 percent of the existing shelter was demolished, and a new facility was constructed around an original wall. Completed in November 1995, the new 1,450-square-foot structure includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a front room and a two-car garage. The structure features linoleum throughout for ease of cleaning. The bedrooms accommodate six to eight persons; the bathrooms are handicapped-accessible. Storage space, an important shelter feature, is provided throughout the facility. A two-car garage serves as a meeting and storage room. The new structure resembles the homes in the surrounding neighborhood and could easily be converted into a housing unit if the shelter vacated the premises. Not surprisingly, the renovation has had a positive effect on property values in the area.

Using the City's CDBG funds, Peregrinos' operates a homeless outreach program from the shelter which serves men, women, and women with children. Shelter staff members actively seek out homeless persons and assist them with employment, medical and psychological referrals, and other needs. The shelter provides food, clothing, bus tokens and temporary lodging.

Since it re-opened in late 1995, Peregrinos' de Emaus has assisted over 100 homeless individuals, many of whom have been able to overcome their difficulties, find employment and return to more productive lives.

Contact: Roseanna J. Jara, Senior Accountant - Redevelopment, (626) 812-5102



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